Sunday, February 13, 2005

Rural suicide - anything to do about it?

The New York Times > Health > Social Isolation, Guns and a 'Culture of Suicide'
When Professor Branas examined data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he found that the risk of dying by gunshot was the same in rural and urban areas from 1989 to 1999, findings that were published in The American Journal of Public Health. He has also concluded that in the most rural counties, the incidence of suicide with guns is greater than the incidence of murder with guns in major cities.
The article doesn't say which of the three alleged factors is the larger contributor to the high suicide rates. Suicide rates are also high in many scandinavian nations; I think guns less accessible there. Isolation is not only a part of most rural areas, it's a feature. Would more mental health workers really drop the suicide rate? It would be useful to have some data.

Maybe we could do something about the romanticization of suicide. In 20 years I've walked out of one movie -- The Dead Poets' Society. The romantic portrayal of the senseless suicide of the teen protagonist was infuriating. That's an uphill battle however.

We know there's a problem worth studying, but we've got a lot of work to figure out if there's anything to do about it.

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